Setting SMART goals in music

Photo by Marko Klaric on

As a marketer, every year I have to write a marketing strategy complete with tactics and measurable goals. I’ve been in this field for 25+ years so these have become my modus operandi. So much so that without thinking about it, I used the same strategy when beginning A Tune A Week.

I started back in December, in the height of our COVID lockdown to force myself to practice and keep learning new tunes. This is week number 47 and it hit me this morning that without even thinking, I used the SMART goal template. I’m sharing it with you so you too could benefit from it in your music practice. Here it is:

S=Specific – Make your goal specific. My goal was to practice more and add tunes to my repertoire. I found that I rarely practiced unless I had a gig or session to practice for so I decided to force myself to learn one tune a week. I would keep myself accountable by publishing it on my blog. Be very clear about what your goal is and how you are going to achieve it.

M=Measurable – In order for a goal to be measurable you need to have evidence that you’re making progress. My evidence was producing and publishing a video a week on my blog and my YouTube channel. How will you measure your goal?

A=Attainable – You want to make sure your goal is actually attainable. I’ve seen people do a tune a day which is unrealistic for me as I have a full time job, a dog, a band and I volunteer in my community. I don’t have time to learn a tune a day but learning one tune a week is challenging yet still doable. Make sure your goal is realistic and set yourself up for success.

R=Relevant – Your goal should align with your long term objectives. I wanted to add tunes to my repertoire and force myself to practice so that when it was time to get back into going to sessions and playing gigs, I wouldn’t be that rusty. What is your long-term objective and how does this fit in with it?

T=Time based – Set a realistic end date. I gave myself one year. I figured I could commit to a year. It was long enough to add some great music to my repertoire and short enough to have an end date so I could feel a sense of accomplishment.

I am a writer so for me it always helps to write out my goals and how I am going to achieve them. I also think that once you put it down on paper (or a computer screen), you’re more likely to do it. I hope this SMART goal template helps you with your practice regime.

With all that in mind. Here is this week’s Tune A Week. It’s a reel composed by one of my favorite composers, Vincent Broderick. It’s called The Flagstone of Memories:

Join me next week for tune #48 from A Tune A Week.

To get A Tune A Week delivered to your inbox, join the mailing list, if you haven’t already. Just add your email address to the box on the right (I don’t share my email list with anyone). Or join the conversation on our Facebook group and Instagram. You can also subscribe to my Youtube channel. Happy playing!

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